Saturday, February 27, 2010

Meeting in the Middle

I had one of those European experiences this morning. There was no room to sit in the local bagel shop, where I'd come hoping to review some writing along with breakfast, so I ended up sharing a table with a total stranger. Turns out we had plenty in common, when we were discussing our kids, but somehow, we got onto politics. We were quite different. One would expect fireworks, and yet...

...we had an amazing discussion. It was easy to tell where she and I diverged, but there were plenty of areas where we agreed. We talked a little about nearly everything, from education policy to global warming to redistricting to health care and found we shared far more common ground than the current freaked-out political vibe would lead you to believe.

It makes you wonder what those idjits in Washington are really all about. Between the two of us, Ms. Stranger and I could have solved some hugely knotty national problems, and we did this over bagels in less than an hour. Neither of us had patience for people who don't think or appear to have the capacity (*cough* Sarah Palin *cough*), nor did we appreciate the all-out monetary grubfest indulged in by too many in Congress. We also bemoaned the lack of common sense and actual voices in the debates over serious problems--for example, why aren't they talking to teachers when making education policy instead of the people who publish textbooks and educational software, or union leaders who have never seen or worked inside a classroom? Why can't we all agree that a growing population has some effect on the world's environment? Why are the only voices we're hearing so far out on the fringes that the rest of us are annoyed and increasingly disconnected?

It was a quick hour and an interesting one. My new acquaintance and I ended up exchanging numbers, though I doubt we'll ever see each other again. Still, it gives you pause: if two strangers can meet, disagree cordially, and leave with respect, why can't the people we're paying to do that job manage the same?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot, Dot

Need a break? Dial up the Nestlé Crunch hotline: 1-800-295-0051. Listen to the message, then wait about ten seconds after the "For English, Press 1; for Spanish..." option. It will then ask you if you want Piglatin. In Piglatin. Then it'll give you some other options (I recommend Option 4). Once you get that deep into the menu, it'll give you a plethora of choices; my favorite is number 7--which will also make the title of this blog clear!

I love clever people who aren't afraid to have fun at (and about) work. :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Passing of a Legend


Yesterday brought the sad news that one of my all-time favorite authors, Dick Francis, passed away at the age of 89. I've blogged about my Francis Fangirl status at length--and seriously, if you love mystery and you haven't read any of his books, you're cheating yourself of a treat--but today is a wee celebration of his life and work.

Francis, a former steeplechase jockey and rider for the Queen Mother, turned to writing after he could no longer ride. Thankfully for us, he applied that knowledge to a series of novels set in the British racing world, one each year from 1967-2000, with a few additional titles co-authored with his son, Felix. Francis books are a wonderful blend of tightly-plotted mystery, great research, and clean writing. Francis created everyman heroes who tapped inner reserves of strength and intelligence to outwit a colorful series of bullies, murderers, crooks, and deadbeats. These heroes mastered all kinds of professions, from painter to glassblower to investment banker to, yes, jump jockey. The ride, as it were, was always a thrill.

Godspeed, Dick Francis. Thanks for your body of work, and for being an author to emulate.

Friday, February 05, 2010


They've finally opened a yoga studio in my lovely little hometown. That may seem like indulgence, but believe me, when trying for fitness means loading up the car and a fight across traffic (therefore rendering much of the stress-relieving properties of fitness moot), having a studio that I could get to on foot is a real boon. I attended their opening day festivities, liked the energy, and was elated to see that they offered a class on the day I reallyreally like to go to class, so boom! There I was, mat at the ready...all alone. No one else in class that day (strange), but the pert little yogi there to teach me was all happy and grateful, so basically, I got a private yoga class yesterday.

Can I just say that there really are no words to describe how wonderful shavasana feels when you've worked your way through a class? No illusions about the rigor of the class itself--it'll be awhile before this body is ready to tackle ashtanga again--but working through an hour-plus of poses she chose to work my stiff hips and ease the rhinoceros of tension that seems to drape on my shoulders like an ungainly shrug made that ten minutes or so of corpse pose the best thing I did all day. And I had a good day at school, mind you.

There's something about letting yourself go that we moms and women rarely do. Just lying on the floor without a brain full of squirrels feels decadent. A guilty pleasure (though guilt and yoga shouldn't ever be roommates, if you can help it). That ten minutes in shavasana, covered with a blankie, no less (something Debbie does at the end of class for all her students), felt like the best thing I'd done for myself in ages. So of course, I bought a class card.

Love the WiiFit and my Rodney Yee-on-the-beach yoga tapes, but there's something about a calming studio with low lights, soft candles, a tease of incense, and soothing music that really does the trick for this stressed-out mom. I'll be there Thursday, and I blast-texted a huge bunch of friends to come play with. Let's hope they find out the wonders of shavasana for themselves.

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